Stakeholders consulted before amendments in Pemra bill, says Marriyum

ISLAMABAD  -  Minister for Information and Broad­casting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday said thorough consulta­tions were held with all stakehold­ers during preparation of the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023. Talking to media outside the Parliament House, she said the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Council of Pakistan News­papers Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Broadcasters Association and AMEND were involved in the consultation process and they supported the bill. Major change in the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023 was the inclu­sion of Article 19 which guaranteed freedom of expression and defini­tion of misinformation and disinformation, she added. Marriyum said in the amended bill, the powers of Paki­stan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman had been curtailed and en­trusted to the Council of Complaints (CoC). The minister said she had closely wit­nessed the difficul­ties being faced by the media work­ers when she was in opposition. The working journalists and media workers performed duties entrusted by their institutions under difficult conditions, and clauses added to the bill pertained to their welfare, which, unfortunately, was termed a black law, she added.

She said timely payment of salaries to the media workers and journalists was protected in the bill and the govern­ment would not give advertisements to the media outlets which would clear dues of their employees within two months. “Implementation of the mini­mum wage law for journalists and me­dia workers is ensured in the amended bill,” she added. Marriyum said pres­ently there was no platform for the me­dia workers where their appeals could be heard, but now media workers, jour­nalists and owners had been given rep­resentation in the CoC. The government had appointed a competent chairman of the Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE), which redressed the complaints of newspa­per employees, she added. She said during the last nine months, the ITNE helped recover Rs140 million dues of the newspaper employees.

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